Emails: Clin­ton cam­paign pushed to can­cel Wall Street speech

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Matthew Daly

WASH­ING­TON — Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign asked for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton to can­cel a speech to a Wall Street in­vest­ment firm last year be­cause of con­cerns that the Clin­tons might ap­pear to be too cozy with Wall Street just as the for­mer sec­re­tary of state was about to an­nounce her White House bid, newly re­leased emails show.

Clin­ton aides say in hacked emails re­leased Fri­day by the anti-se­crecy group Wik­iLeaks that Hil­lary Clin­ton did not want her hus­band to can­cel the speech but af­ter a “cool down pe­riod” was even­tu­ally con­vinced that can­cel­ing — as Bill Clin­ton even­tu­ally agreed to do — was the right step.

Cam­paign man­ager Robby Mook said he real­ized can­cel­ing the lu­cra­tive speech would dis­ap­point both Clin­tons, but it “could plague us in sto­ries for months.”

The Clin­tons’ paid speeches have been an is­sue through­out the cam­paign, par­tic­u­larly Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pri­vate speeches to Wall Street firms. Hil­lary Clin­ton earned about $1.5 mil­lion in speak­ing fees be­fore launch­ing her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, while Bill Clin­ton reaped more than $5 mil­lion from bank­ing, tech and other cor­po­rate in­ter­ests, ac­cord­ing to fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments filed by Hil­lary Clin­ton.

The cam­paign has never re­leased tran­scripts of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s speeches, but the hacked emails did re­veal ex­cerpts flagged by her ad­vis­ers as po­ten­tially con­cern­ing.

In the ex­cerpts, Clin­ton talked about dream­ing of “open trade and open bor­ders” in the Western Hemi­sphere. She also says politi­cians some­times need to have “both a pub­lic and a pri­vate po­si­tion” on is­sues.

Bill Clin­ton was sched­uled to speak to Mor­gan Stan­ley ex­ec­u­tives on April 15, 2015, a few days af­ter his wife was set to launch her bid for pres­i­dent.

“That’s beg­ging for a bad roll­out,” Mook wrote in a March 11, 2015, email.

In a later email, Mook says he feels “very strongly that do­ing the speech is a mis­take.” Hil­lary Clin­ton was sched­uled to cam­paign in Iowa, “where cau­cus go­ers have a sharply more neg­a­tive view of Wall Street than the rest of the elec­torate,” Mook wrote.

Clin­ton’s long­time aide, Huma Abe­din, as­sured Mook the next day that Clin­ton was fine with the speech be­ing can­celed, es­pe­cially if Bill Clin­ton agreed. The can­di­date “just needed a cool down pe­riod,” Abe­din wrote.

The emails were among thou­sands pub­lished this week by Wik­iLeaks, which has been re­leas­ing a se­ries of emails hacked from Clin­ton cam­paign chair­man John Podesta.

U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials last week blamed the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment for a se­ries of breaches in­tended to in­flu­ence the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. The Rus­sians deny in­volve­ment.

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